Yngwie Malmsteen: 'You Wouldn't Steal A Car, Why Steal Music?'

Swedish guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen asks why music fans steal from their favorite artists, and says it's tough for new acts to break through.

Ultimate Guitar

Swedish guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen visited politicians in London last Thursday to lend his support for a new anti-piracy campaign.

The "Rock The House" campaign attempts to promote the import ace of copyright and the live music sector to politicians in the UK, who have the power to make legislation to support the music industry.

Malmsteen said he's lucky to have built a fan base since starting out in the 1980s, but it's tough for new artists today (via Classic Rock):

"The younger musicians of newer generations, their future doesn't look too good. Everyone seems to have a CD out or YouTube videos, you know? Back in the 80s if you had a record out, you were hot sh-t!

"Copyright is everything to a musician. Just like inventions, the music you write is like your own child. If it gets sold to people, you should be rewarded. No one should be able to take it from you.

"You don't go around stealing cars! The rules should apply to music, film, books etc. Anything that can be distributed should be accounted for. Something has to be done. The machine is broken."

It's a fair question - if most people wouldn't steal a car, why would they steal music? In some ways it seems obvious, because you're less likely to be punished for stealing music. But is it really that simple?

This insightful video talks about the concept of dishonesty, and how music theft is easier to rationalise than other types of theft:

YouTube preview picture

What do you think of music theft? Have you been rationalising? Will you ever change? Share your views in the comments.

217 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I would download a car if I could tho
    damn.. so now I need to get a new external hard drive, to get a new car?...
    I think you mean 100 external hard drives.
    dammit! might as well just buy the car then... and a large hadron collider while I'm forced to spend that many money.. is that really what you want Yngwie? for me to go bankrupt just so you can enjoy a new sparkly shirt and a donut??!!1!1!!
    I'm downloading my new car right now. Uni has a 1gb per week cap though so I'm just getting the front left tire right now.
    yeah piracy it's like this: -Imagine your car got stolen, but was there when you wanted it. Piracy is piracy, not theft
    Yeah, and I'll 'pirate' your credit card details and see if you like it. You can use it when you like still, but you'll lose a bit of money every now and then from it...
    WRONG! Are you actually retarded? That's a ridiculous false analogy. If you use his credit card details to take his money without permission and, here's the important bit, LEAVE HIM AT A LOSS then it's theft, simply having a copy of the details is not, in itself, a crime. However, nobody loses ANYTHING when I download an album, IT IS A COPY AND THE ORIGINAL ITEM IS STILL INTACT AND IN THE OWNERS POSESSION. the equivalent of you stealing his money would be if I was walking into a shop and stealing a CD thus depriving the store owners of a CD and a sale. Copyright laws are a good 20 years out of date and these companies are trying desperately to convince technologically pig-ignorant lawmakers to use the power of government to inhibit technological advancement in order to save a bloated business model which is simply not sustainable in the digital age. This is the modern equivalent to if the government had banned the use of electric trains because the advancement was harmful to the coal industry. And if you're trying to portray it otherwise then you are either dishonest or stupid.
    "the equivalent of you stealing his money would be if I was walking into a shop and stealing a CD thus depriving the store owners of a CD and a sale." By doing that you are not depriving the store of a cd, but YOU ARE depriving the store of a sale. What you said doesn't make much sense. Each person downloading a cd is not stealing the original copies of the album from the artists of course, but they're still not getting paid for their work. Have you ever worked for somebody who didn't pay you? A boss or even a big company? They're not robbing you for sure, but you're not earning anything and it's not right. Musicians are still workers. We all gotta pay the bills
    Your focusing on the record store and not the band which makes your point invalid. If you copy the CD now you have the album and you didn't pay for the album. The band does not get money for the album you have. Tell me again how nobody looses anything... the thought that this is advancement is just beyond stupid.
    link no1
    These moronic comments trying to justify piracy are so amusing to read. Piracy is stealing. You have put the artist out of money by pirating it rather than buying it, this is theft. If this is too much for you to understand then I my deepest sympathy's to your parent's as they must be very upset at how unintelligent their child is.
    But they're not out of money. If I were to copy an album, I have cost them literally nothing. They didn't produce a CD, a booklet, a case or anything. I buy albums all the time, my local record store just has an absolutely pitiful selection of metal. As long as record companies are charging the exact same for licensing DRM-crippled, digital files as they are for owning physical media that actually justifies the price (because of the required manufacturing and distribution) then I will download. Show me some place that offers an album from a major label, legally, and for a fair price then I will buy it. Until then, I will skip the 15 digital downloads (same price as a physical medium) from major labels and stick to pirating the albums I cannot get on terms I feel are fair to me as a consumer.
    musicians are selling music in album form not the physical album. The bands you copy from do not see any money for the digital album you now own.... geez i thought it was pretty clear the first time I said it. I do understand your frustration with the digital pricing. It should reflect not having to make a cd. 15 is pretty steep even in physical form.
    totally agree with you. also, artists don't depend on making money from the cd profits(because the bigger percentage goes to record labels), but from concerts and t-shirts
    Of course it's theft. Do you understand copywright law? Intellectual property? Patents? You steal the rights to something, it doesn't matter whether the original owner still has a copy, it's theft.
    Can someone update Malmsteen on the past 10 years of discussion he missed?
    Stealing a car and stealing music are two completely different things and I wish they'd stop making that comparison.
    but its the ways that they are similar that matters here. not the ways they are different. the point is both are STEALING. not that one form of stealing is different than the other form of stealing. your taking something that someone has created. stealing. i dont care if you have $0 and an artist has $100 butt-f***ing trillion. u take something they own without paying. your stealing. people can bitch all day long about how these artists are rich anyway. its still stealing. its still wrong.
    Cars are a scarce resource. Music is not. Economically speaking, the music industry is an industry propped up on selling you bullshit. Hard realism will tell you that can't justify putting a price on something that is not scarce. Of course, I have spotify. Much less of a headache than finding healthy torrents. Anything too obscure for that, I have bandcamp.
    broken ipod
    of course that "endless resource" is still property of the bands and record companies so it is still OWNED PROPERTY so therefore, if they own it, they can do what they want with it. Until you buy it, it doesn't belong to you so it is stealing regardless of quantity.
    Fuck record companies. That's all I have to say about that. Also, no, most music is not the property of the bands since anyone dumb enough to sign to a record label these days signs their life away.
    His arguement was about the apparant inflated prices put on music CD's, not a justification for pirating. And I agree, the laws of supply and demand seem to be non-existant in the music industry.
    Hmm Movies arent a scarce resource either, all movies should be free, regardless of the fact that it costs around 200 million to make something in the vein of avatar. But **** it, it should be free, we are entitled to free stuff, it is our birth given right.
    Exactly, one is a piece of artwork created to capture the feelings of the artist and inspire people, the others just a way of getting around.
    Music is something that to an increasing degree is costing less and less money to produce and has 'artistic value'. A car is the culmination of the efforts of hundreds of factory workers and represents a prohibitive expense to the person you stole it from.Try again.
    Yet another celebrity that just doesn't get it . If car theft was as easy, convenient and low-risk as piracy, we'd have a huge ****ing problem.
    So, because piracy is "easy, convenient, and low-risk", it's ok? WHAT?
    The point isn't that it's okay because it's easy, low-risk and convenient. The point is that people are greedy and in fact WOULD all steal cars if it was comparatively easy, low-risk and convenient.
    I once bought a G3 DVD in wich he was playing, so i think a have payed money to him. The thing about the new generation artists isn't true i think. If i was born 20 years earlier i don't think that i would have discovered Ygnwie at all, but now because of youtube and downloading i could find his music. I tried it, and i liked it. I once bought a DVD wich i probably never would have bought if i couldn't listing to his music for free on the internet.
    savage axe
    thats true for sure if it was'nt for youtube i probably would'nt hear much new music or bands so i would certainly not be buying their cds or dvds.
    I'd pay for my music, but some things are a little more important. Like food and electric bills.
    I agree. I mean if I released an album I would prefer people pay for it, but no one can possibly pay for all the music they listen to. If someone couldn't pay for my album, I'd want them to hear it anyways. That's what art is about.
    So if you can't afford it, steal it? Look, i have no issue with people illegally downloading stuff, but don't try and morally justify it. It's stealing and it's illegal. If you're cool with that, knock yourself out. But don't fall back on the old 'I can't afford it' spiel. I can't afford lots of things, so I don't have them. It's the way the world works.
    Nah I don't steal. I have an awesome method. Take theese steps 1. Open eBay account 2. Buy a couple used CDs 3. Rip the CDs to your hard drive 4. Sell the same CDs for the same price you bought them for with shipping and eBay fees attached 5. Lol government can't sue me mother fu@@ers. Hurrdur huuuurrrrrddddduuuurrrrr
    if i would go to work instead of doing these steps i could easily afford the cds anyway!
    Actually, it's still illegal to keep those cds ripped on your computer after you sell the hard copies. Sorry to burst your bubble.
    Actually, people steal from others all the time. Especially in larger businesses and in politics. THAT is the way the world works.
    And sometimes they get caught, because doing so is against the law. That's the point I'm making. Yes, people are going to steal, and people are going to download music illegally. I don't give a damn what they do, just don't make excuses for it.
    Double edged sword, no? You can't talk about why its alright to do so, but I'm allowed to sit here and talk about why its wrong. Those comments are just as, if not MORE irritating..
    Legally and morally, it isn't alright to do so. That's my point. Now, if you want to go ahead anyway, I don't care and I'm not stopping you. Just don't kid yourself that its 'alright'. The law says it's not and in most cases the artist says it's not.
    nobody is buying his records lol cus noone wants to pay 12$ for a half hour long guitar solo
    I usually download an album before I buy if, so basically a try before you buy. Which Im pretty sure they do with cars anyway.
    or do what i do, just listen to an album on youtube, or organize a playlist with each song from it. then go on from there.
    "the music you write is like your own child. If it gets sold to people, you should be rewarded" I wouldn't really want to be rewarded if my child got sold
    this... I don't really know that much about Yngwie's policy on human trafficking, but if it was me I'd probably want to get the kid back..
    Lol Natures
    I agree, stealing music is a big problem. They should put more cameras around the discount CD rack. Don't they know shoplifting is a crime?
    I pirate because I can, and so can everyone else. It is a fact that digital information of any kind can and likely will be pirated, there is virtually no way of stopping it from happening without brutally raping the freedom of internet users.Any artist that supports anti-piracy legislation is most likely actually supporting anti-freedom of information legislation (knowingly or not) and I am highly morally opposed to that. Free distribution of information should be seen as the pinnacle of mankind's achievements, but instead greed has made it seem as though it is an evil idea that needs to be crushed immediately. /rant
    You wouldn't steal a handbag. You wouldn't steal a car. You wouldn't steal a baby. You wouldn't shoot a policeman. And then steal his helmet. You wouldn't go to the toilet in his helmet. And then send it to the policeman's grieving widow. And then steal it again. Downloading music is stealing. If you do it, you will face the consequences
    Wait, people are still comparing internet piracy to stealing cars? I guess internet piracy is like murder too... because we're killing record companies, but we wouldn't murder a person, would we? That logic makes sense, right guys?
    He's right. It is stealing. Albums should be streamed for people to listen to before purchasing but downloading for free is stealing. Just like burning your friends CD. Seems like most people are ok with this cause it has been happening since cassette tapes came out. This really isn't a new behavior, it is just a lot easier than it ever was.
    Well, he made an extremely dumb relation between stealing cars and stealing music, but yeah, stealing music is bad, folks. Especially in an age when record labels are crumbling apart and forcing many bands to remain completely underground...
    I think music should be a lot cheaper and easily available to listen to online. But when you're paying studio time, advertising, production, mastering and touring an album you won't get the money back let alone profit if people are illegally downloading it. Physical sales should be pushed because I don't feel like I own music when it's downloaded
    A lot cheaper? What does a song on iTunes cost? $1? $2? I've paid that for a chocolate bar. The problem is that music has been made to be practically worthless. I can buy half of a band's set list online for what a beer costs at the venue. Piracy is a problem, but not the only one.
    By cost of music I mean physical albums, where I live most shops have a new album at 10, which is about $16
    The problem is because people seem to feel so entitled to shit. I don't understand when this started. Spotify allows you to listen to music for FREE. The try before you buy excuse no longer holds validity. I don't see why you or anyone deserves more simply cause you bought it. So because you buy a value meal at mcdonalds your now entitled to free food? Bullshit. Musicians have to work for their money and its getting tougher and tougher. If ONLY they had it as easy as you think it is. Most of the time they live on fast food and shitty hotels. Its not glamorous. Quit being a pud and support music.
    Go eat another donut, Yngwie. Guys like this are pathetic. "I've already established myself as a musician and have made millions, but I'm going to bitch and cry because people 'steal' my music!" For every Yngwie out there, there are a dozen (or more) up-and-coming musicians who are actually struggling that will say, "Yeah, go ahead. Download our music." And to quote Matt Pike (High on Fire) when asked the question "What do you say to the people who stole/downloaded your MP3s?" - "I'm glad you did because you listened to it, so, I don't care. I really don't care. It's not like anyone's writing fat royalty checks anymore. Ya know, it just doesn't happen that way." And this is the way 99% of musicians feel.
    Come on now people, stop illegally downloading Yngwie's music, he needs revenue from album sales to buy more bling. Hopefully he'll become so weighed down by gold that he won't be able to leave his house.
    Yngwie Malmsteen is one of the greatest and fastest guitar players in the world. He's right. Now everyone has a CD.
    Actually Yngwie, I would steal a car if it meant that the person got to keep their copy of the car, and if, within less than 10 minutes it became MY car and if I also didn't know ANYONE that paid for a car... So there.
    The "try before you buy" excuse is logical to some extent, providing people live up to that, but, it could be possible to use a service like spotify, that still gives out royalities for the artist (no matter how small, it's besides that point) for the "trying" stage, before going on and buying a digital or physical record.
    Funny story Yngwie, I did steal a car and I got away with it. Thanks to statue of limitations I can say this as I can no longer be charged for it. That said it was a pretty stupid move but I chock that up to being a young dumb punk. Should sum up how I feel about downloading music.
    As the saying goes, 'Internet piracy is like stealing a car, but the car is still there in the morning.'
    It's OK Yng after you jizzed all over the stage on sat at the Marshall gig I wouldn't even steal your music
    That was impressive. So glad that roadie caught his guitar else I'd have felt so much pain.
    When you steal a car, other people can't drive it. When you pirate music, other people can still listen to it. You aren't depriving anyone of anything. Your argument is flawed Yngwie, as are all the other people who make the same argument. Maybe this is just another case of a downloader's rationalization, but face it, the only thing you guys are worried about is the fact that you aren't making as much revenue as you could be making in a more authoritarian world.
    How about this... you go to work at your day-job (I'm guessing McDonalds), and before you leave with your paycheck, someone you don't even know snatches your pay check from you and gives you 60% of what the check was for. Thats essentially what you're doing when you illegally download music. I just love how you small-minded twits think that everybody who puts out a record must be some kind of millionaire. You selfish little dicks should go to prison for your crimes... and soon will.
    That is the worst analogy I have ever heard... Ever. I know what your trying to say but it sounds like an anti socialism rant. I love how small minded *****s like yourself think we owe record companies something. Start putting out good bands again and I'll start paying again. Until then I'll keep my IP address blocked and d/l all day, or did your small mind not know that you could do that?
    So you're a thief. Classy. By the way... you're stealing from the artist, not just the record company... but I'm sure you'll rationalize your crimes any way you can.
    What you just described is called taxes, Also they have already made there money basically all illegal downloading does is it takes away from there royalty fees they make when they sell a cd and no not everyone who puts out a cd is a millionaire but the ones people tend to pirate are millionaires so sit behind your little computer chair an shut up you miserable white knight fag.
    "Just like inventions, the music you write is like your own child. If it gets sold to people, you should be rewarded." wat
    I agree with him. If you don't have the money you just can't have the record. Simple as that. Just because someone is rich or some label prices and album 20 bucks doesn't give you the right to rip it. Think of it like that: you're earning 2000 bucks a month for doing your job. Someone with less money than you comes and takes 500 away. You wouldn't stand there like "oh whatever, I've got some left, it's fair".
    No I wouldnt steal a car. But I will alway stest drive it before buying it. If its shit I wont buy it. If its good - I'll buy it! Simple. Operate a time expired download for material. if you like it to can pay to enable it.
    Poor analogy. When you steal a car, somebody is out of a car. When you steal music from Yngwie, he still has his music.
    Notice how the only people that complain about music being pirated are rich musicians or rich record labels? Show me a musician asking for 3 a month so they can restring their guitar and I'll gladly donate. Show me a washed up rock star asking for $300,000 in damages so they can buy a new house for their 4th divorced wife and I will steal their shit just to spite them.
    I steal music because I don't have any CDs that I want available. All there really is is the mainstream shit. I would be more than happy to pay for CDs if the stores had them.
    over the past 5 years Ive pirated over 700 songs and enjoyed most of them. Now that I have my college degree and got a nice part time job(temporary), Ive started buying all the muic I already have in my pirated collection that I have enjoyed. i dont think my method justifies me stealing music, but I think it makes me less of a thief.
    He's right, he isn't bitching about his sales, like he said if you were big in the 70s, 80, 90s you have a fanbase so pirating isn't so bad, where as if you're a new band and everyone is downloading your shit, your record company wont like your sales and you wont do big tours or anything.
    Honestly, I don't give a ****. I have a nice collection of CD's, and there isn't much good music that comes out nowadays. Most people I know are trying to just get buy. I really wish musicians would shut the **** up about their "art". See also: Ex-The Haunted singer, Peter Dolving
    I thought he was from a socialist country? Whats with all the Capitalist ideas?
    because socialism isn't about doing the best you can and getting nothing.. it's about doing the best you can and getting the payment you need to survive... and btw just because a person is Swedish doesn't necessarily mean that he would endorse the general Swedish ideas about filesharing..
    Socialism is about worker's control of the industry/market/company they work for... It's got nothing to do with getting paid, or government distributions... So Socialism in Music would be all the bands coming together to support up and coming artists without any bullshit labels/executives and then them all sharing the labour and the profits in whatever form they might be...
    yeah and if people think that would really happen i have some invisible clothes to sell them...
    No, socialism is about having everything handed to you. In a socialist economy, society is dependent upon the government for financial support.
    You're quite misinformed here. Socialism is about social ownership and has nothing to do with being dependent on government or having things handed to you. Go read a ****ing book.
    People from his neck of the woods generally only ever read one book and its about Jesus and in their minds anything else is "a damned socialist satanic lie!!"